David Price struck out 12 over seven innings and combined with two relievers on a four-hit shutout in the Rays’ 5-0 defeat of the Indians on Friday.
Price outdueled Josh Tomlin, who was far and away the hotter pitcher entering the game. Tomlin, who hadn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his nine starts while going 6-1 with a 2.41 ERA, gave up four runs over six innings in this one. The home runs finally did him in; it was the fourth time this year that he gave up two bombs, but this time, both came with men on base.
Casey Kotchman and Sam Fuld were the unlikely home run hitters. They had combined for three in 283 at-bats this season entering the day.
Price allowed four hits and walked two in the 110-pitch outing. He struck out 10 or more batters for the fifth time in his career. His previous high for strikeouts was 11, established against the Twins on May 30, 2009 and matched against the Diamondbacks on June 26, 2010.
Price improved to 6-4 with a 3.54 ERA. Those aren’t the kind of numbers he posted last year, when he was in the mix for AL Cy Young honors. However, he currently has a 1.06 WHIP and a 68/13 K/BB ratio in 76 1/3 innings, suggesting that his ERA should keep declining. Last year, he had a 1.19 WHIP to go along with his 2.72 ERA.
Amid the clash and clatter of division races, wild card nail-biters, and postseason finishes, the Giants and Padres played a baseball game.
It wasn’t a particularly brilliant game — Madison Bumgarner surrendered five runs and a season-high three homers over six frames, while the bullpen blew a one-run lead in the seventh — but it served its purpose in the end. Denard Span’s 10th inning home run cemented the Giants’ 82nd win of the season, scooting them half a game up in the wild card standings and keeping the Dodgers from clinching the division.
Granted, the Dodgers only need one more win (or, alternatively, a Giants’ loss) to lay claim to the division title, and it’s almost certain that they’ll take the NL West on Sunday. A division title may be out of reach for the Giants, but they’ll still face fierce competition from the Mets and Cardinals for a wild card spot heading into the last week of the season.
Here are the rest of the box scores from Saturday’s games. Keep an eye out for Dustin Pedroia‘s grand slam, Josh Reddick‘s grand slam, and Hunter Renfroe’s first career home run.
Royals 7, Tigers 4
Cardinals 10, Cubs 4
Rangers 5, Athletics 0
Blue Jays 3, Yankees 0
Red Sox 6, Rays 4
Orioles 6, Diamondbacks 1
Nationals 6, Pirates 1
Marlins 6, Braves 4
White Sox 8, Indians 1
Reds 6, Brewers 1
Angels 10, Astros 4
Phillies 10, Mets 8
Twins 3, Mariners 2
Giants 9, Padres 6 (10 innings)
Dodgers 14, Rockies 1
Yesterday, the Nationals staked their claim in the NL East and the Red Sox secured a postseason berth. Today, the Dodgers stand on the cusp of their fourth consecutive division title, with only Tyler Anderson and Ty Blach in their way.
Any combination of a Dodgers win and Giants loss will secure the NL West for Los Angeles, who missed their opportunity to clinch last night despite a 14-1 drubbing at Dodger Stadium. In the end, it came down to the Giants, who pulled off an extra-inning victory against the Padres and delayed the Dodgers’ playoff revelry for another day.
In lieu of starter Rich Hill, whom manager Dave Roberts intends to reserve for next weekend’s set against the Giants, the Dodgers will go to right-hander Brandon McCarthy on the mound. It’s been a rough year for McCarthy, who has not made a regular season start for the club since August 13, when he left the game with stiffness in his right hip after 1 ⅔ innings. According to Baseball Injury Consultants, the 33-year-old missed 179 days on the disabled list in 2016, due in large part to a prolonged recovery from the Tommy John surgery he underwent in 2015.
Thankfully for the Dodgers, their fallback is a good, old-fashioned offense. They’ve outscored their opponents 46-23 in the last week and are currently riding a five-game winning streak after taking back-to-back series against the Giants and Rockies. Should they win on Sunday, they’ll face off against the Nationals in Game 1 of the NLDS on October 7.